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City of Sydney Plans to Encourage Artists

SYDNEY.- More than a dozen inner city venues could be given over to Sydney's artists under a City of Sydney plan to be considered by Council on Monday 15 December.

Six sites in the City Centre and inner city suburbs could be made available for artist studios, rehearsal spaces and galleries by the end of 2009, with a further seven to be developed in the future.

Lord Mayor Clover Moore MP said the City is committed to supporting Sydney's artists and encouraging them to live and work in the City to broaden Sydney's culture.

"Providing artists' studios and creative spaces ensures continued cultural vitality, which is part of our Sustainable Sydney 2030 vision to create a more vibrant and liveable city centre," said Lord Mayor Clover Moore MP.

"Expanding the Accommodation Grants Program to include new properties suitable for creative use would provide artists and Sydneysiders alike with the opportunity to rediscover some of the City's best loved locations and support the development of new creative communities."

Under the recommendation, both temporary and permanent spaces would be created in three phases over the next 10 years, transforming currently unused areas in libraries, town halls and cultural centres into studios, as well as redeveloping entire sites to allow for the provision of more creative spaces.

Proposed priority sites:

Riley Street Depot - Woolloomooloo, which could become artists' working studios
Paddington Reservoir Gardens and Paddington Town Hall - Paddington, which is ideally suited for presenting visual arts and performances
Waterloo Library - Waterloo, which could provide offices for theatre or history groups
Walter Burley Griffin Incinerator - Glebe, which could provide meeting rooms for lifelong learning groups, rehearsal spaces and writers' spaces.
Bellevue House - Glebe, which is suitable for a lecture space, small exhibition rooms and office spaces
Former Taylor Square Toilets - Darlinghurst, which was successfully used as an exhibition space during Art & About and could be managed as a student gallery.

Long-term sites:

Glebe Town Hall - Glebe
The Burton Street Tabernacle - Darlinghurst
Kings Cross Library - Kings Cross
Heffron Hall - Darlinghurst
Brickworks at Sydney Park - Erskineville
Glebe Library and St Helens - Glebe
Green Square Library and Cultural Centre - Green Square
The City already supports a diverse range of arts and cultural organisations through the annual provision of $2.8 million to the Cultural Grants and Sponsorships Program and $2.6 million to the current Accommodation Grants Program.

The expanded program is likely to be modelled on the recent artist occupation of unused spaces at the CUB site in Chippendale, which received significant artist interest in sub-leasing warehouse space scheduled for future redevelopment.

Local artists will be encouraged to apply for spaces in the new sites, and will be chosen by a panel of representatives from arts management bodies, the local arts community and the City of Sydney.

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